Stammheim trial

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The Stammheim trial (also known as the Stammheim trial or RAF trial ) was a criminal trial against the leaders of the Red Army faction of the "first generation". The RAF members Andreas Baader , Ulrike Meinhof , Gudrun Ensslin and Jan-Carl Raspe were indicted on May 21, 1975 . They have been charged with murder on four counts and attempted murder on 54 counts.

The trial took place at the Stuttgart Higher Regional Court . For security reasons, a windowless multi-purpose hall was built on the grounds of the Stuttgart penal institution , which was used as a courtroom. The construction costs amounted to twelve million DM . On October 17, 2017, it was announced that the building would be demolished. This demolition has been postponed until at least 2025 due to the lack of accommodation for prisoners. The process was one of the longest and most complex in German post-war history. It ended with the conviction of Baader, Ensslin and Raspe for murder on April 28, 1977. Ulrike Meinhof had already committed suicide in May 1976.

During and for the trial, the code of criminal procedure was changed in several points. As part of the Stammheim wiretapping affair , conversations between the defendants and their defense lawyers were unconstitutionally wiretapped by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution .

Holger Meins , who died on November 9, 1974 in the Wittlich correctional facility during a hunger strike, was also accused . Ulrike Meinhof hanged herself on May 8, 1976 during the course of the trial. The other three defendants were sentenced to life imprisonment for jointly committing six bomb attacks in unity with 34 attempted murders and four murders. Before entering the legal force of the judgment she committed suicide .

Process flow

The length of the trial, 192 days, as well as the length of the indictment (354 pages) and the trial files (approx. 50,000 pages) prove that it was one of the largest trials in Germany. According to the indictment, the public prosecutor's office was planning to summon 997 witnesses, including the mother of Andreas Baader, the sister and parents of Gudrun Ensslin, the husband of Ulrike Meinhof and close relatives of Holger Meins and Jan-Carl Raspe. 80 experts and an interpreter were appointed. The transfer pieces comprised thousands of evidence, from "1 bundle of blue woolen threads, ass. No. B35 track II / 33" to "1 yellow plastic bucket with 15 kg of red explosives".

The defending Baader, Klaus Croissant , Kurt Groenewold and Hans-Christian Stroebele were, in advance of the hearing on the process on the basis of the recently amended Criminal Procedure Code excluded. They were accused of supporting their client's actions. The objections raised at the beginning of the process were initially rejected. When the Federal Prosecutor's Office also expressed concerns, the process was postponed so that the process that had begun on May 21, 1975 could only be continued on June 5.

The process was made more difficult by hunger strikes by the defendants who wanted to obstruct the process. The defendants themselves said that they were "at war with the state". The daily negotiation time has been reduced to a few hours. This decision was overturned on the grounds that the accused would only carry out the hunger strike campaigns in order to make themselves incapable of standing for future negotiations. Experts, on the other hand, supported the thesis that the accused merely wanted to improve their prison conditions through the hunger strike.

On the occasion of the Stammheim trial, the code of criminal procedure was changed in several points during the proceedings. For the first time, it was regulated that a hearing could be held in the absence of the accused, provided that the latter himself caused his incapacity to stand deliberately and culpably (e.g. through a hunger strike) (Section 231a of the Code of Criminal Procedure). Furthermore, the number of elected defense counsel was limited to three (Section 137 (1) sentence 2 StPO), the prohibition of multiple defense was introduced (Section 146 StPO) and the exclusion of defense counsel was standardized (Sections 138 a – d StPO). Nevertheless, there was an unconstitutional wiretapping affair in Stammheim .

The process was accompanied by rough verbal battles. Examples of this are the statements of the spokesman of the Defense Otto Schily the presiding judge Theodor Prinzing on the 37th day of the trial: "Your robe is getting shorter and the crocodile among them more visible" and the statements by Rupert von Plottnitz "Hail, Dr. Prinzing! ".

Numerous requests for bias were made. For example, the defense argued that the trial had already been decided and that the principle of the presumption of innocence did not apply. The background was that a wing had already been built especially for the defendants in the Bruchsal correctional facility . As a result of these procedural disputes, the taking of evidence could only begin five months after the trial opened on October 28, 1975.

An essential part of the defense strategy was to construct a justification for the actions of the defendants against institutions and members of the armed forces of the United States in Germany. It was argued that there was a right of resistance based on international law, because the participation of the USA in the Vietnam War and consequently support from the Federal Republic of Germany was contrary to international law. As evidence, requests were made to send US President Richard Nixon , his Defense Minister Melvin Laird , his deputy Daniel James , Commander in Chief of the US Armed Forces in Indochina Creighton Abrams , Federal Chancellors Ludwig Erhard , Kurt Georg Kiesinger , Willy Brandt and Helmut Schmidt , the Federal President Gustav Heinemann and Foreign Minister Walter Scheel to be invited as witnesses. The court rejected all of the relevant individual applications on the grounds that any witness interrogations were of no significance for the criminal assessment of the defendant's offenses.

The 85th application of bias submitted by Hans Heinz Heldmann led to Prinzing being replaced by Eberhard Foth on January 25, 1977 . The accusation against Prinzing was that he had inadmissibly sent trial documents to his friend, Federal Judge Albrecht Mayer , whose Senate at the Federal Court of Justice was the appellate and revision instance for the process, which the latter had then forwarded to the editor-in-chief of Die Welt , in order to have the opinion-forming influence of Spiegel -Magazin, which had reported negatively about a decision of the Federal Court of Justice concerning the proceedings, to offset the world with a counter-publication .

Important witnesses for the prosecution were Gerhard Müller , who was arrested together with Ulrike Meinhof on June 15, 1972, and Dierk Hoff .

Bank break-ins, robbery, forgery of passports, bomb attacks and four murders were attributed to the defendants. They were also convicted of six bomb attacks: the bomb attack on the headquarters of the 5th US Corps in Frankfurt am Main on May 11, 1972, the bomb attacks on the Augsburg Police Department and the Bavarian State Criminal Police Office in Munich on May 12, 1972, the car bomb attack on the federal judge Wolfgang Buddenberg in Karlsruhe on May 15, 1972, the bomb attack on the publishing house of Axel Springer AG in Hamburg on May 19, 1972 and the bomb attack on the European headquarters of the US Army in Heidelberg on May 24, 1972 There were four deaths and 34 injuries. The RAF is said to have had its headquarters in Inheidener Strasse in Frankfurt am Main, where extensive evidence and an extensive arsenal of explosives (300 kg) and weapons were found.

The defendants were sentenced to life imprisonment. After the verdict, the defense lawyers appealed on appeal, so that the verdicts were not final at the time of the suicides of the remaining defendants on the “ night of death in Stammheim ”.


  • Assessor:
  • Supplementary judge:
    • Otto Vötsch, active as a judge after the resignation of the chairman Prinzing;
    • Heinz Nerlich;
    • Werner Meinhold;
    • Hans-Jürgen Freuer;
  • Government: Government Director
  • Accusation:
    • Federal Prosecutor Heinrich Wunder;
    • Chief Public Prosecutor Peter Zeis;
    • Public Prosecutor Klaus Holland;
    • Public Prosecutor Werner Widera;
  • Public Defender:
    • Oswald Augst;
    • Ernst Eggler (for Ensslin);
    • Peter Grigat (for Raspe);
    • Dieter König (for Meinhof);
    • Manfred Künzel (for Ensslin);
    • Karl-Heinz Linke (for Meinhof);
    • Stefan Schlaegel (for Raspe);
    • Dieter Schnabel (for Baader);
    • Eberhard Schwarz (for Baader);
  • Press: Ulf G. Stuberger was the only representative of the press to follow the entire process. It was also he who was the first to be at the scene of the murdered Attorney General Siegfried Buback .


Audio documents


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. 15 million euros for the RAF high-rise
  2. ^ Federal Archives Koblenz, signature B 362/3378
  3. A few details from the Federal Archives, signature B 362/3378. Indictment, Part III. Transfer pieces:
    • Companion Copy of the certificate of the Realgymnasium Königshofen from July 26th 1956 (Baader)
    • 2 pistols "Llama Especial" and 1 magazine, 1 air pistol "Marksmann Repeater"
    • 1 "Landmann-Preetz" rapid fire rifle
    • "Black Book Church" (Ass. No. E11, bedroom, item 5)
    • CES brand lock cylinder damaged by removal
    • 1 pipe section, 1 threaded rod with 2 nuts
    • Lease agreement dated October 13, 1971 for the Berlin apartment, Budapesterstr. 39
    • 1 bundle of blue wool threads (ass. No. B 35 track II / 33)
    • 1 detonator connected to ignition light
    • 1 paper sack with 51 kg of aluminum powder
    • 1 yellow plastic bucket with 15 kg of red explosives
    • 1 special tool for opening vehicles
    • Fragments of federal identity card No. F 5 744088
    • “Letter of Confession” from May 20, 1972
    • 1 white converted short-time meter, brand “Kienzle” with glued black toggle switch, brand “Racimex”
    • Parts of the magazine "Die Welt" from May 25, 1972 with handwritten. notes
    • 1 document (1. there is a need ...) Meinhof-Mat. Item XVII / 4
    • Sketch "Terrace Club, Detonation Site 3"
    • Ensslin-Kassiber, Ass. C6.4.2 item 116
  4. Christopher Tenfelde, The Red Army Fraction and the Criminal Justice. Anti-terror laws and their implementation using the example of the Stammheim process, p. 195 ff.
  5. ^ Stefan Aust: The Baader Meinhof Complex, 8th edition, Wilhelm Goldmann Verlag Munich 1998, p. 337 ff.
  6. Summary of the Stammheim process at
  7. Christopher Tenfelde, The Red Army Fraction and the Criminal Justice. Anti-terror laws and their implementation using the example of the Stammheim process .
  8. Christopher Tenfelde, The Red Army Fraction and the Criminal Justice. Anti-terror laws and their implementation using the example of the Stammheim process, p. 128 ff.
  9. Christopher Tenfelde, The Red Army Fraction and the Criminal Justice. Anti-terror laws and their implementation using the example of the Stammheim process, p. 178 ff.
  10. Ulf G. Stuberger, The days of Stammheim .
  11. Christopher Tenfelde: The Red Army faction and the criminal justice. Anti-terror laws and their implementation using the example of the Stammheim process , p. 171 f.
  12. Der Spiegel of January 24, 1977, Gerhard Mauz: That all comes from the lawyer Schily , accessed by Spiegel Online on March 6, 2011.
  13. Christopher Tenfelde: The Red Army faction and the criminal justice. Anti-terror laws and their implementation using the example of the Stammheim Trial , p. 116 f.
  14. “Shall we come with flowers?” In: Der Spiegel . No. 27 , 1972 ( online ).
  15. ^ Butz Peters: Deadly error. The history of the RAF. Argon-Verlag, Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-87024-673-1 , p. 352.
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